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Take Care of Those Roses: How To Treat Them Right

Desert Rose is excited to feature seasonal rose care in our June blog. Rose care can seem complicated, so we will go over basic seasonal rose care so you can maximize blooms and overall health of your rose bushes. There are thousands of different varieties of roses with some needing different care than others, but there are some standard tips that can be used on most of them. In general, roses are heavy feeders, so fertilizing is a must in order to give your roses the nutrients they need to perform their best. Roses also enjoy deep, healthy watering 2-3 times a week depending on the weather. Do not allow roses to sit in water drenched soils for long periods of time. Over watering can kill most plants and can especially kill roses.

Spring is the best time for any major pruning you have planned for your roses. Ideally, any hard pruning should take place after the last frost, but in Santa Fe, a frost always seems to be lurking around the corner in early spring. It is best to prune the rose when it starts to bud and leaf out. It isn't recommended to cut your rose down more than 2/3 its original size so anything less than that is considered safe. The amount you prune the rose depends on several factors one of which is plant location. If the rose is towards the back of your garden, less pruning will allow it to grow larger over time and give the much-needed height to fill the back of your garden. When pruning in the spring, remove any dead canes (gently scratch the surface of the stem to see if it is green, if it is brown that stem is dead). Remove any stems that touch or rub together. This can cause wounds to the rose and can leave the plant more prone to infection. When cutting, use sharp pruners and cut at a slight angle away from the bud site about 1/4" to 1/2" above it. Heavy pruning helps promote plant growth by changing the hormones in the plant. Applying a fertilizer helps feed the roses during this time of vigorous growth. Use Jobes rose spikes for an easy to apply, natural fertilizer that will feed for 8 weeks. If you don’t mind using synthetic fertilizers, Bayer Rose 3 in 1 is a great fertilizer that also systemically fights diseases and pests. Apply fertilizers during spring, summer and early fall months and always following the directions on the packages.

During the summer months, prune off spent flowers to help maintain a healthy looking rose and to promote more blooms. Cut spent blooms about 1/4" above the next five-leaflet leaf (five or more leaflets is ideal) at a slight angle. Water deeply 2-3 times a week depending on the rain and keep an eye out for diseases and pests. Apply appropriate pest control following directions on your package of choice.

In the fall, you will want to prune all the spent blooms unless you plan on saving the rose hips, depending on the variety. Remove the leaves that have fallen - do not let them stay over the winter. This can provide shelter for pests and diseases over the winter and will give them a better chance to attack your roses in spring. Prune the rose slightly to prevent the canes from snapping under the weight of the snow that will soon be coming. Apply a winter fertilizer in the later months of fall to feed the rose through the dormant months.

Winter care for your rose is fairly simple: deep water once every 10-14 deepening on the amount of snow we receive through the winter months.

Although this general guide doesn’t cover every aspect of caring for your roses, it is a good start to help you improve the health and performance of your roses! As always, we are here to care for your roses - if you have a maintenance contract with us and would like to get on a fertilizer program for your roses or any other plants, please contact us so we can get that processes started!

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